It was the breaking news day that just wouldn’t quit — first a Malaysian airliner knocked out of the sky in Ukraine, then an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, even a brief White House lockdown. And on Thursday, Americans turned overwhelmingly to one cable news channel to make sense of the chaos.
Fox News had one of its best days this year on Thursday, surpassing top competitors MSNBC and CNN by a massive margin. Ratings released by Nielsen Media Research reveal that the network averaged over 3 million viewers in the key 8 to 11 PM timeframe and an impressive 1.5 million viewers throughout the entire day as news broke minute-by-minute.
CNN garnered barely over a third of that in primetime, hitting 1.2 million viewers despite it’s reputation for breaking news coverage. They did slightly better throughout the day’s carnage, earning just under 700,000 eyeballs.
And MSNBC? The network may be “The Place For Politics,” but it’s definitely not the place for breaking news. The liberal channel’s primetime programs hovered around 800,000 viewers. And it’s total-day viewership was a paltry 379,000 — astonishingly LOWER than the same date in 2013, a fairly unremarkable date for important news stories.
Fox’s primetime programs “Hannity” and “The Kelly File” both earned all-time highs in viewership, with 2.5 and 3.2 million people watching respectively. And Bret Baier’s “Special Report” picked up a yearly ratings high with 2.6 million viewers.
It continues a great year for Fox News, which consistently dominates its competitors and in recent months has pulled even further away.
The numbers may also be a welcome reprieve for CNN, which took a nosedive after Jeff Zucker took over the channel in early 2013 and has frequently turned up at the bottom of the cable news tally this year. Perhaps the network should consider bailing out struggling Malaysian Airlines, given how crucial they’ve proven to CNN’s business model.